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Harry Potter Movies Ranked in Descending Order

Harry Potter is one of the most successful book franchises of all time, so it was pretty much a given that Hollywood would turn them into movies, and that’s what Warner Bros. did. I’ve watched them (multiple times), and now I’ve ranked them in descending order.

#8: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The sixth book became the worst movie for a variety of reasons, but the biggest problem is that it’s boring as fuck. The book was mostly exposition and setup for the final installment, and nothing that exciting happens. And as a result, nothing that exciting happens in the movie.  It loses all the momentum that the series was building up. You go from Goblet of Fire to Order of the Phoenix and suddenly everything slows down. It’s huge step backwards.

            #7: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. The final book was split into a two-part movie because there would be no satisfactory way to wrap up the series in a 2-hour movie. And because they would make a shitload more money. You don’t really need to see this movie; it’s mostly just Harry, Hermione, and Ron hiding in the woods for the duration of the running time. You might like it if you’re a fan of wizard camping. It’s slightly less boring than Half-Blood Prince, which is why it’s slightly higher up on the list. But not by much. I actually own all the Harry Potter movies, except for this one. It’s not essential viewing.

#6: Harry Potter and Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone. The first Harry Potter movie deserves a lot of credit for introducing the Boy Who Lived to the big screen. But it’s too much of a kid’s movie. It’s too light, too family friendly, and it has the worst acting and special effects in the whole series. Some parts are truly painful to watch.

#5: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. This is one of the most loyal adaptations in the series, and it’s almost a direct translation of the book. The special effects and acting have only slightly approved over the first movie, and it’s still a children’s movie. The basilisk scene is one of the highlights of the first two movies, but I really hate the flying car scene (especially when Harry falls out of the car for no fucking reason other than to add unnecessary tension).

            #4: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. There was a lot of internal debate from the studio about breaking up Goblet of Fire into two movies because the book was so long. They decided not to, and the movie suffers as a result. It’s too incomplete and leaves too much stuff out. It’s really annoying when they go to the Quidditch World Cup but they don’t show any fucking Quidditch. Or omitting most of the cool shit that happens during the final task in the maze. And they eliminate the mystery by practically telling you that Mad-Eye Moody is really Barty Crouch, Jr. The biggest redeeming qualities of this flick are the scenes with the Hungarian Horntail and the graveyard return of Voldemort.

#3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. This is the epic conclusion to the HP saga and they do it right. Everything comes down to this, and the bulk of the film happens during one long day. The special effects, the acting, the action sequences are all amazing. It’s a roller coaster ride, and you don’t want it to end and then it does, and then you realize you have nothing else to look forward to. There are no more books to read, no more movies to watch, and a part of your life is over when the movie is over.

#2: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This was the longest book and it became one of the shortest movies in the series. They leave a lot out. But they capture the tone and feel of the book. Whenever they leave something out, they still allude to it. The movie flows and it works. Gary Oldman doesn’t get much screen time as Sirius Black, but makes his presence known with a few key scenes and subtle dialog with Harry. The battle at the Ministry of Magic was everything you hoped it would be. And the epic fight between Dumbledore and Voldemort is one of the best moments of the entire series. I will put on the movie just to watch that part.

            #1: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This was the movie that inspired me to finally read the books. It’s not perfect, but I still think it’s better than its bookly counterpart. I don’t like the whole time travelling subplot, but the film handles it better than the book. And it’s not the movie’s fault that the book had a stupid time travelling shtick. Alfonso Cuarón is responsible for the best movie in the franchise. He successfully turned a kid’s book into an art house blockbuster. He was able to take Chris Columbus’ foundation and J.K. Rowling’s book and delivered a faithful translation to the source material, but he still able to make it his own. You can enjoy the film even if you aren’t a Potter fan.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Harry Potter Books Ranked in Descending Order

Harry Potter is awesome, but some of the books are better than others. Here is my Critically Rated Harry Potter countdown.

#7: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. This is the second book and it’s a little bit darker than the first one, but it’s still a kid’s book at this point. Voldemort is in it, but it’s just a teenaged version of him that was trapped in a diary. He’s not that formidable, and he hasn’t returned to power yet. It might not deserve to be the worst one, but I’ve got to start somewhere.

            #6: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone. This is the book that started it all. First time readers might be amazed by how innocent Harry Potter is. He doesn’t know anything about being a wizard and he gets introduced to a magical world and we get to explore it with him. It sets everything up, it introduces a lot of the main characters in the HP universe. It transcends being a mere kid’s book, but it’s still a kid’s book.

#5: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This is a dark story, but it’s still a kid’s book. You start to see the potential of Harry Potter. You have the Dementors and the main introduction of Sirius Black. Voldemort is not the main threat, and they have a ridiculous time traveling subplot that takes away from the overall quality of the third installment.

#4: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The sixth book is just a set-up for the seventh book, and it’s pretty apparent upon reading it. Nothing much happens, except for a lot of backstory about Voldemort and the fact that Dumbledore dies. It seems like a step back in the series and it is.

            #3: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This is the book where you learn how vast and expansive the Wizarding World is. You catch a glimpse of the Quidditch World Cup, you get to meet students from other wizard schools, and you start to see how Harry is different from his peers. Plus Voldemort returns to power and the series shifts into a darker gear.

#2: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This is the fifth book and the longest one of the series. J.K. Rowling goes into great depth and Harry accomplishes a lot in this book. He steps up, he’s actively trying to defeat Voldemort. He’s pretty much accepted his fate at this point. He realizes that he’s done more than most, and he starts to pass off what he’s learned to his fellow students. He becomes a force to be reckoned with, as evidenced by the battle at the Ministry of Magic. The book is highlighted by the epic battle between Dumbledore and Voldemort.

            #1: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. This is the final installment of the HP series and a beyond-satisfying conclusion to the saga. It goes back to the beginning and reminds you about everything you love about Harry Potter. It answers all the questions and wraps everything up in a pretty little package. The last book provides the most answers, and when you finish reading it, you don’t regret anything about sacrificing a good portion of your life following the exploits of a fictional character.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (film)

Harry Potter was too much of phenomenon to stay on paper, and in 2001 the first book became a box office hit. Chris Columbus was chosen to direct, mostly because he was used to directing kids in films like Home Alone, and Mrs. Doubtfire. Harry Potter’s mostly British cast would use virtual unknown child actors and established film stars to play the adults.

It was really risky hiring Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter. If he sucked the whole franchise would have fallen apart. He looks the part, and plays the part pretty well, but he is still just a kid in this and not much of an actor. He gets the job done though, and so you have to give credit to everyone who saw his potential. At the time the movie was made, there were only three books out and 4 more yet to be written. No one knew if they were going to keep the same cast or have to replace them if they got too old. Rupert Grint plays Ron Weasley and Emma Watson rounds out the trio as Hermione Granger. Rupert Grint is naturally fun and great sidekick to Harry, but Emma Watson is the best actor of the three in this one. She is the most natural on camera. Inspired casting with the Hogwarts staff, but Alan Rickman steals the show as Snape. He can do more with a sentence than most could do with a four-minute monolog.

This is a bright happy kid’s movie. The later films get darker as the books become more adult orientated. Columbus does a great job establishing the look and feel of the wizarding world. He sets up a great foundation and establishes the general tone and mood for the later installments. He brings J.K. Rowling’s vision to life, and it is truly magical at times. The first time I saw this movie was in Spanish class, and dios mios, it blew me away. Even though I had no idea what that little nino was saying to his amigos nuevos en la escuela de magica, I knew that I was seeing the start of a great new franchise. The computer graphics and special effects are a little under par. Neville’s flying sequence and the bathroom troll seem really cartoony. The Quidditch scenes were also very boring and not fast enough. The Quidditch scenes also showcase Daniel Radcliffe’s most wooden acting in the entire franchise. Maybe he should have been drinking back then to loosen up a little.

Overall the film stays very loyal to the book. Only a few things are changed or cut from the film, nothing too major. The flow of the film gets a little clunky at times, and the acting a little amateur, but it is entertaining and rewatchable. A great start to a great film franchise.

Critically Rated at 14/17

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (book)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is the first book in the Harry Potter series. Around the world it is better known as Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Americans are dumb though, and we don’t know what the Philosopher’s Stone is, so they changed it to Sorcerer’s Stone because it sounds more magical. This is the book that started it all. If you’ve never read it you are lucky. I wish I could read it again for the first time.

I saw the first three movies before I caved and started reading the books. The sheer depth of it blew me away. I love how Harry Potter is really mediocre, not at all like the powerful wizard you think he is. He is just a normal kid who suddenly finds himself thrust into a crazy world, where seemingly anything can happen and he is famous for something he can’t even remember.

J.K. Rowling planned out the whole saga in advance and it shows. She mentions characters like Sirius Black in the first chapter, well before we meet Sirius in the Prisoner of Azkaban.

This is a kid’s book. It is not your average kid’s book, but its still for the kids. Each book is about Harry’s next successive year at Hogwarts. Each book, Harry is older, he deals with more mature things, and J.K. Rowling’s writing improves with each book, so they only get better and darker as they go along.

Most people fail to realize how important Neville Longbottom is. On Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s very first nighttime excursion, Neville accompanies them. Gryffindor wins the House Cup because of Neville. Neville is Harry’s purebred equivalent.

A fun read, and a great foundation for the phenomenon that became Harry Potter.

Critically Rated at 15/17.

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